Daily Israel Report

OPCW Head: Israel Should Renounce Chemical Weapons

Head of Nobel winner OPCW says Israel should join the Chemical Weapons Convention, just like Syria did.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/11/2013, 6:13 AM

OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu
OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu
Reuters

The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Tuesday called on Israel to renounce chemical weapons and join the convention banning them.

Speaking to Reuters, OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu, whose organization has been leading the mission to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, also called on Egypt and North Korea to renounce chemical weapons.

Uzumcu, who spoke after his organization the 2013 Nobel Prize, said that Angola, Myanmar and South Sudan were preparing to join the pact.

"Now since Syria has become a member country, I think (Israel) can reconsider," he told Reuters.

"I don't see any excuse for not joining the convention," Uzumcu said. "Three (nations) are very close to membership and I hope the others will reconsider their positions."

Israel signed the convention in 1993 but has never ratified it. As with its presumed nuclear arsenal, the Jewish state has never publicly admitted having chemical weapons.

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said in September that Israel would be ready to discuss the issue when there was peace in the Middle East.

Steinitz’s comments came as Iran directed international attention towards Israel and slammed the Jewish state for not having signed up for the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“It is concerning that the Zionist regime [of Israel] … is not a member of any treaty on the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction including the Chemical Weapons Convention,” said a spokeswoman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry at the time.

Just as Iran did with Israel’s alleged chemical weapons, Arab nations have consistently tried to single out Israel for criticism over its assumed nuclear arsenal.

The Arab League has unsuccessfully tried to convince the U.S. and European nations to join a campaign to end Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity. It has, however, seen some support at the United Nations. A UN resolution passed in 2010 called for a nuclear-free Middle East and singled out Israel for criticism, while ignoring Iran, whose former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad constantly threatened to wipe Israel off the map.